Winfield S. Featherston

Last updated
Winfield S. Featherston
Winfield Scott Featherston.jpg
Winfield S. Featherston in Confederate States Army uniform
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Mississippi's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1847 March 3, 1851
Preceded byEstablished
Succeeded by John Allen Wilcox
Personal details
BornAugust 8, 1820
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
DiedMay 28, 1891 (aged 70)
Holly Springs, Mississippi
Resting place Hillcrest Cemetery, Holly Springs, Mississippi
NationalityFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Elizabeth McEwen
OccupationLawyer
State politician
Judge
Military service
Nickname(s)Old Swet
Allegiance Flag of the Confederate States of America (1865).svg Confederate States of America
Branch/serviceBattle flag of the Confederate States of America.svg  Confederate States Army
Years of service1861 1865
Rank Confederate States of America General-collar.svg Brigadier General
Battles/wars American Civil War
Bust of W. S. Featherston by Edmond Thomas Quinn at Vicksburg National Military Park, 1915 Bust of Brig. Gen. Winfield Scott Featherston.jpg
Bust of W. S. Featherston by Edmond Thomas Quinn at Vicksburg National Military Park, 1915

Winfield Scott Featherston "Old Swet" (August 8, 1820 May 28, 1891) was an antebellum two-term U.S. Representative from Mississippi and a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was later a state politician and a circuit court judge.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they compose the legislature of the United States.

Mississippi State of the United States of America

Mississippi is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Mississippi is the 32nd most extensive and 34th most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Alabama to the east, the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana to the south, and Arkansas and Louisiana to the west. The state's western boundary is largely defined by the Mississippi River. Jackson, with a population of approximately 167,000 people, is both the state's capital and largest city.

Brigadier general (United States) one-star general officer in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps

In the United States Armed Forces, brigadier general is a one-star general officer with the pay grade of O-7 in the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. The rank of brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed services. The NATO equivalent is OF-6.

Contents

Early life and career

Winfield S. Featherston was born near Murfreesboro, Tennessee on August 8, 1820. [1] He was the youngest of seven children of Charles and Lucy Featherston, who had recently emigrated from Virginia. Featherston completed his preparatory studies, but left high school in 1836 to enroll in a local militia group to fight Creek Indians during the Creek War. [1] He later moved to Mississippi and settled in Houston, where he studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1840 and established a successful law practice.

Murfreesboro, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Murfreesboro is a city in, and the county seat of, Rutherford County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 108,755 according to the 2010 census, up from 68,816 residents certified in 2000. In 2017, census estimates showed a population of 136,372. The city is home to both the center of population of Tennessee, and the geographic center of Tennessee. Murfreesboro is located 34 miles (55 km) southeast of downtown Nashville in the Nashville metropolitan area of Middle Tennessee. It is Tennessee's fastest growing major city and one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Murfreesboro is also home to Middle Tennessee State University, the second largest undergraduate university in the state of Tennessee, with 22,729 total students as of fall 2014.

Virginia State of the United States of America

Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2018 is over 8.5 million.

Militia generally refers to an army or other fighting force that is composed of non-professional fighters

A militia is generally an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a nation, or subjects of a state, who can be called upon for military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of regular, full-time military personnel, or historically, members of a warrior nobility class. Generally unable to hold ground against regular forces, it is common for militias to be used for aiding regular troops by skirmishing, holding fortifications, or irregular warfare, instead of being used in offensive campaigns by themselves. Militia are often limited by local civilian laws to serve only in their home region, and to serve only for a limited time; this further reduces their use in long military campaigns.

Featherston was elected as a Democrat to the Thirtieth and Thirty-first Congresses (March 4, 1847 March 3, 1851). [1] [2] He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1850 to the Thirty-second Congress, being defeated by John Allen Wilcox. He returned home to Houston and resumed his law practice.

Democratic Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

30th United States Congress

The Thirtieth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1847, to March 4, 1849, during the last two years of the administration of President James K. Polk. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Sixth Census of the United States in 1840. The Senate had a Democratic majority, and the House had a Whig majority. It was the only Congress in which Abraham Lincoln served.

31st United States Congress

The Thirty-first United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1849, to March 4, 1851, during the 16 months of the Zachary Taylor presidency and the first eight months of the administration of Millard Fillmore's. The apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the Sixth Census of the United States in 1840. The Senate had a Democratic majority, while there was a Democratic plurality in the House.

He moved to Holly Springs, Mississippi, in 1856 and began a new law practice in that town. Two years later, he married Elizabeth McEwen, the daughter of the town's leading merchant. The couple would raise a large family in Holly Springs.

Holly Springs, Mississippi City in Mississippi, United States

Holly Springs is a city in and county seat of Marshall County, Mississippi, United States at the border with southern Tennessee. Near the Mississippi Delta, the area was developed by European Americans for cotton plantations and was dependent on enslaved Africans. After the American Civil War, many freedmen continued to work in agriculture but as sharecroppers and tenant farmers.

Civil War

With the secession of Mississippi, Featherston was appointed to visit neutral Kentucky to try to influence Governor Beriah Magoffin into also leading his state from the Union. With the start of the Civil War in May 1861, Featherston was appointed a captain of Confederate States Army infantry. [2] He soon raised a regiment of infantry (17th Mississippi Infantry Regiment) and became its colonel on June 4, 1861. [1] [2] He fought at the First Battle of Manassas. [3] He was cited for gallantry at the Battle of Ball's Bluff. He was commissioned as a brigadier general to rank from March 4, 1862. [1] He led a brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia during the Peninsula Campaign and was wounded during the Seven Days Battles at the Battle of Glendale. [3] He then participated in the fighting at the Second Battle of Manassas, as well as at Antietam and Fredericksburg. He was among a number of generals that General Robert E. Lee removed from command or reassigned when he reorganized his army, along with Nathan G. Evans, Thomas F. Drayton, Roger Pryor, and several others. Featherston asked to be returned to his home state because of the growing Union Army threat there. [3] [4]

Secession is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity, but also from any organization, union or military alliance. Threats of secession can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals. It is, therefore, a process, which commences once a group proclaims the act of secession. It could involve a violent or peaceful process but these do not change the nature of the outcome, which is the creation of a new state or entity independent from the group or territory it seceded from.

Kentucky State of the United States of America

Kentucky, officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state located in the east south-central region of the United States. Although styled as the "State of Kentucky" in the law creating it, (because in Kentucky's first constitution, the name state was used) Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth. Originally a part of Virginia, in 1792 Kentucky became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the 37th most extensive and the 26th most populous of the 50 United States.

Beriah Magoffin American politician

Beriah Magoffin was the 21st Governor of Kentucky, serving during the early part of the Civil War. Personally, Magoffin adhered to a states' rights position, including the right of a state to secede from the Union, and he sympathized with the Confederate cause. Nevertheless, when the Kentucky General Assembly adopted a position of neutrality in the war, Magoffin ardently held to it, refusing calls for aid from both the Union and Confederate governments.

Transferred to Mississippi in early 1863, Featherston assumed command of a brigade of Mississippians in Major General William W. Loring's Division in the army of General Joseph E. Johnston. [1] Featherston's brigade was at the Battle of Champion Hill so it was not with Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton's main force at Vicksburg and was not surrendered with it. [3] Besides the Vicksburg Campaign, Featherston fought in other major campaigns in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, including the Atlanta Campaign in 1864. [3] Loring's men accompanied the Army of Tennessee during John Bell Hood's Franklin–Nashville Campaign, or Tennessee Campaign. [3]

Mississippi in the American Civil War historical state of the (de facto) Confederate States of America between 1861 and 1865

Mississippi was the second southern state to declare its secession from the United States of America, on January 9, 1861. It joined with six other southern slave-holding states to form the Confederacy on February 4, 1861. Mississippi's location along the lengthy Mississippi River made it strategically important to both the Union and the Confederacy; dozens of battles were fought in the state as armies repeatedly clashed near key towns and transportation nodes.

Joseph E. Johnston Confederate Army general

Joseph Eggleston Johnston was a career United States Army officer, serving with distinction in the Mexican–American War (1846–1848), and Seminole Wars. After Virginia seceded, he entered the Confederate States Army as one of the most senior general officers.

Battle of Champion Hill Battle of the American Civil War

The Battle of Champion Hill, fought May 16, 1863, was the pivotal battle in the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War (1861-1865). Union Army commander Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursued the retreating Confederate States Army, under Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton and defeated his army twenty miles to the east of Vicksburg, Mississippi, leading inevitably to the Siege of Vicksburg and surrender. The battle is also known as Baker's Creek.

In the last weeks of the war in April 1865, Featherston commanded a brigade in the Carolinas Campaign and surrendered with Johnston's army in North Carolina. [2] [3] He was paroled in Greensboro, North Carolina, on May 1, 1865. [1] [2]

Postbellum career

Featberston's grave in Hillcrest Cemetery. Featherston obelisk, Hillcrest Cemetery.jpg
Featberston's grave in Hillcrest Cemetery.

With the war over, Featherston returned to his home and family in Holly Springs. Later that same year, he was an unsuccessful candidate for United States Senator from Mississippi. Featherston returned to his law practice and later served as president of the state taxpayer's convention which protested against high taxes and wasteful government spending of carpetbagger Governor Adelbert Ames. He was elected to the State House of Representatives in 1876, where he continued his battle against the former Union general. Featherston's wife Elizabeth died at their home of yellow fever in 1878, as did some of their children (four survived).

Featherston was elected to another term in the state legislature in 1880, where he chaired the Judiciary Committee. He was a delegate to the 1880 Democratic National Convention. In 1882, he became judge of the second judicial circuit of Mississippi. [1] He was member of the State constitutional convention in 1890. [5]

Featherston died from paralysis at his home in Holly Springs, Mississippi on May 28, 1891. [6] He was interred in the town's Hillcrest Cemetery. [2]

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959. ISBN   978-0-8071-0823-9. p. 86.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN   978-0-8047-3641-1. p. 233.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War. New York: Facts On File, 1988. ISBN   978-0-8160-1055-4. p. 214.
  4. Sifikas suggests that Featherston may have been prompted to make the request.
  5. Warner, 1959, 86-87.
  6. Warner, 1959, p. 87.

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References

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov .

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Stephen Adams
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 2nd congressional district

1847-1851
Succeeded by
John A. Wilcox